Defense of Marriage Act

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a federal law passed in 1996 that both created a federal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and expressly gave states permission to refuse to recognize marriages entered into by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions. The part of DOMA that defines marriage at the federal level – known as Section 3 – was a radical departure from 220 years of federal practice, which was to rely on each state to define marriage and to recognize any marriage legally entered into under state law as a valid marriage for federal purposes.

We are challenging Section 3 of DOMA on behalf of our client Edie Windsor in Windsor v. United States, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. In June, the Court will rule on whether DOMA violates equal protection by treating married gay couples as unmarried in over 1,100 federal programs.

Where were you when DOMA bit the dust?

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 2:24pm

Here's to remembering each and every one of our celebrations of this moment in history.

What The Windsor Case Means To Me And My Family

What The Windsor Case Means To Me And My Family

By Robert H., Teen Activist Project Member, NYCLU at 12:09pm

What marriage equality has meant to me and my family has changed greatly over our lives. When my parents were born, in the mid-1950s, the idea of ever having an open, public discussion of sexual orientation seemed impossible, and marriage for gay and…

Historic Shift in Congress against DOMA Mirrors Shift in Public Opinion in Favor of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

Historic Shift in Congress against DOMA Mirrors Shift in Public Opinion in Favor of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:24am

On Friday, 212 members of Congress, 172 representatives and 40 senators, filed an historic brief in support of Edie Windsor's challenge to the discriminatory and unconstitutional so-called Defense of Marriage Act's (DOMA) exclusion of married same-sex…

We're Going to The Supreme Court! The Supreme Court Takes Review of DOMA and Prop 8!

We're Going to The Supreme Court! The Supreme Court Takes Review of DOMA and Prop 8!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:00am

Today the Prop 8 case (Perry) is being argued before the Supreme Court and tomorrow the ACLU will be there challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of Edie Windsor....

Working Towards an LGBT-Inclusive Platform

Working Towards an LGBT-Inclusive Platform

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:28pm

On Thursday evening, BuzzFeed reported that the draft 2012 Democratic National Platform includes, as part of an overall endorsement of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, a call for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in Congress. …

ACLU Lens: President Obama Endorses Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples

ACLU Lens: President Obama Endorses Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples

By Alicia Gay, ACLU at 4:22pm

President Obama today became the first sitting U.S. president to endorse the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. In an interview taped earlier this afternoon, he told ABC News’ Robin Roberts:

“I have to tell you that over the…

"Repeal DOMA" Prominent Governors and Mayors Urge Congress

"Repeal DOMA" Prominent Governors and Mayors Urge Congress

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:09pm

This week, a group of prominent state governors and big city mayors from across the country urged Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA Repeal Vote Represents a Critical Shift

DOMA Repeal Vote Represents a Critical Shift

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:36pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 in support legislation that would fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

VICTORY! Senate Committee Votes to Repeal DOMA

VICTORY! Senate Committee Votes to Repeal DOMA

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am

Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 10-8!

Historic Committee Vote Set on DOMA Repeal - Tomorrow

Historic Committee Vote Set on DOMA Repeal - Tomorrow

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:30pm

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on legislation that would fully repeal the discriminatory and unconstitutional so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

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